Fish Curry In Goa, History, Types And 5 Spots To Visit

For any seafood lover, India’s western coast is a treasure trove of delights. The Konkan cuisine showcases the best of the local catch along with flavours native to the region. Naturally, when you think of India’s seafood destination, the first name that comes to most people's mind is Goa. 

Goa’s cuisine stands out from the rest of the country as its diverse history has created a unique blend of flavours and influences. The Portuguese occupation and the influx of Saraswat Brahmins from further north coincided to create a truly special set of dishes and one of the most famous – and beloved – among them is the simple Goan Fish Curry, known as Xitti Kodi in the local language Konkani.  

This curry typically consists of firm white fish cooked in a tangy and aromatic sauce enriched with coconut milk, spices, and fresh herbs. It's a simple culinary journey to the beautiful beaches of Goa without the need for extra frills or flounces. Eaten in most homes as a quick dinner or as part of a larger seafood thali, it's much loved at any time of the year.

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The history of Goan Fish Curry reflects the influence of Portuguese colonialism and the abundant seafood along the coastline. This fusion of Indian and Portuguese flavours brought forth a unique culinary style featuring spices like turmeric, coriander, and chilli. Goan Fish Curry stands as a testament to this cultural blend, becoming an integral part of Goan identity. It embodies the rich history and traditions that have shaped Goan culture over the centuries.

History Of Goan Rice And Fish Curry

Saraswat Brahmins, the earliest settlers in Goa around 600 BC, initially established themselves in the bordering talukas in Maharashtra and Karnataka. They sought refuge due to religious persecution, first under the Sultanate and later under Portuguese rule, leading them to live quietly and inconspicuously. Consequently, the authenticity of their cuisine has remained intact.

While their culinary traditions in Goa evolved over centuries, influenced by Muslim and Christian elements, the original essence persisted, quietly preserved. Over time, Hooman transformed into what we now know as Kodhi or Goan fish curry. Saraswat Brahmins use lime and tamarind pulp for souring, in contrast to the toddy vinegar and kokum favoured in Christian households, which were introduced later. Similarly, Xacutti, a distinctive Goan preparation today, has its roots in shagoti, another Saraswat dish that contributed to the region's culinary heritage.

Types Of Goan Fish Curry

  1. Xitti Kodi: Goan fish curry, known as Xitti Kodi, is a popular Goan staple. This dish is rich in spices and coconut, with a tangy twist from raw mango. It typically features Pomfret or Kingfish and is served with rice.
  2. Dried Mackerel Curry: During the summer season, Goans prepare dry fish curries using stockpiled dried fish. These satisfying curries are a monsoon season favourite and are traditionally served with rice.
  3. Mackerel Curry (Bangdyache Hooman): This mackerel curry pairs wonderfully with Goan rice or ukde tandul. It is built around the flavours of tefal berries, Sichuan peppercorns, green chillies, ginger, and red chillies for a spiced melange of flavours. Tamarind or kokum add a delightful tanginess to this spicy and tangy dish.
  4. Ambot Tik: Influenced by Portuguese cuisine, Ambot Tik combines "ambot" (sour) and "tik" (spicy). It features shark fish cooked with Kashmiri red chillies for heat and Kokum for a sour kick, alongside onions, tomatoes, and masala.
  5. Caldin Curry: This milder version of the typical fish curry is made with more coconut milk and less chillies for a soft, yellow curry that is perfectly paired with Goan red rice. 

5 Of The Best Places To Try Fish Curry In Goa

Vinayak Family Restaurant:

Nestled away from the bustling main road, Vinayak in Assagao is a cherished family-run eatery that radiates a warm, homely atmosphere. This hidden gem lures both tourists and long-time Assagao residents. Notably, their menu doesn't feature thalis, but you can request them. Vinayak offers various fish thali options, with their signature featuring fried fish, dried fish flakes, white rice, mussels, fish curry, pickles, and kokum curry, all at great value for money. It's an experience that most patrons describe as cost-effective and satisfying.

Address: House No 278, Socol Vaddo, Assagao, Goa 403507
Timings: 12:30pm – 3:30pm, 7pm – 10:30pm
Cost for two: ₹1,100 for two people (approx.)


Set within a charming, ageing Portuguese house, Starlight invites you to savour culinary delights in a spacious veranda. While lacking air conditioning, this open-air setting allows you to sip drinks, relish a delectable fish thali, and observe life unfolding. Their fish thali boasts 11 items, including 8 Goan delicacies like crab bowl, ambot-tik, dry fish mix, small clams, fish curry, unique fish masala, veggies, and salad. With steamed white rice and a sizable fried kingfish piece that dominates the flavours, this thali offers a diverse and satisfying taste experience.

Address: Near St. Shebsveatian Church, Calangute - Anjuna Road, Arpora, Baga
Timings:12:45pm – 4:45pm, 7:30pm – 11:45pm
Cost for two: ₹850 for two people (approx.)

Fat Fish:

Amidst the commercialised hubbub of Baga, Fat Fish stands out with its traditional charm. Overlooking Baga's paddy fields, this restaurant promises value for your money. Their Goan fish thali, priced at just INR 350, is a seafood lover's dream, including the curry of the day, tisro, crab xacuti, tarle sukha, vegetables with rice, fish fry, kismur, pickle, salad, and papad. The experience feels upscale but remains affordable. Expect a popular spot with some waiting time, but the quality justifies it.

Address: H/4/267/D, Ward 4, Agar Vaddo, Baga, Goa

Timings: 12:30pm – 12midnight 

Cost for two: ₹1,800 for two people (approx.) 

Anand Seafood Bar And Restaurant:

Anand Seafood Restaurant may not catch your eye from a distance, but it offers flawlessly prepared fish thali. The spices are skillfully balanced to enhance the fish's natural flavour. The fish is cooked to perfection, achieving a delightful crunch while maintaining its tenderness. The highlight is undoubtedly the delectable Goan curry. The ambience evokes a simple, home cooked feel. Expect a satisfying platter of fish fry, curry, vegetables, and rice, or go for the unlimited version on Mondays.

Address: Chivar, Anjuna, Vagator, Goa 403509

Timings: 12:30pm – 10pm

Cost for two: ₹950 for two people (approx.) 

Spice Goa:

Indulging in a seafood meal, followed by tempting desserts like gulab jamun, caramel pudding, and kulfi, is a delightful experience. Spice Goa takes seafood seriously, ensuring freshness and offering comprehensive information. Tucked away in a small lane off the Bombay-Goa highway in Mapusa, it's a well-kept local secret. The fish thali is a heavenly affair, featuring fish curry, crab masala, kismur, clams, beans, salad, rice, and sol kadi. Each item on the plate boasts distinct flavours, keeping you coming back for more with every visit to Goa.

Address: 3, Satt-Adhar Complex, Mumbai Goa Highway, Mapusa, Goa

Timings: 11:30am – 4:30pm, 7pm – 11pm

Cost for two: ₹1,100 for two people (approx.)